Mpume Kunene | Clean Spot Solutions
I started out in sales and marketing and, while still employed full time, I registered Clean Spot Solutions in 2009. I was retrenched in 2012 and decided to focus on the business. I had no experience in the cleaning industry and no intention of going into business for myself full time. I didn’t know if it would work out so I gave myself six months and fell in love with the business. But it wasn’t as simple as you’d think and, after a year, I found another job and ran Clean Spot in the evenings. My new employer paid me the first month but couldn’t pay me for the second month so Clean Spot paid my salary. I woke up one morning, asking myself what I was doing and that’s when I decided to really go for it with my business. In 2013, I was living from one job to the next. I had no staff and was the bookkeeper, the delivery person, the salesperson – I wore each and every hat in the business. I didn’t even have a vehicle and the majority of the business was delivering large orders of cleaning supplies and bales of toilet paper. To hire a vehicle, you have to have credit and I didn’t have any.
A friend who supplied me with tissues called me one day and told me about the Engen–Raizcorp programme and I applied to join. The programme had so much impact on my life – as an individual and as an aspiring businesswoman. I was able to connect with other like-minded people and I learned about the legislation I needed to comply with (I didn’t have a business background). The programme really taught me how to get my finances in line.
When I started on the Engen–Raizcorp programme, it was just myself and now I have 56 staff. Our turnover has really grown. We are constantly out there looking for new business and have some great things in the pipeline. My main objective is transitioning from mainly government work to more corporate business.
I would advise aspiring entrepreneurs to go with something they love. If you don’t enjoy what you do, it will drain you when times are tough so it’s better to go for something that you don’t see as just a job but rather as a lifestyle. Another thing is fear … You will always face obstacles so you need to be brave and have the tenacity to go for what you want in life.
I do not have enough words to thank Engen for the opportunity to go on to the programme. While I was on the programme, I started doing business with them and they are still my client four years later. They were my first corporate client … It was mind blowing for us. Engen opened the doors for a small business and they trusted us. Their trust gave us the exposure we needed to find more corporate business such as with Toyota South Africa. (Toyota has about five different cleaning companies and, while we are the smallest, we have won their supplier award for the past two years.)
I would also like to thank Raizcorp for accepting us on to the programme and being so patient during the rollercoaster ride, especially my guides who were so understanding. It was tough fitting in the Raizcorp schedule when I started (I didn’t have the systems and resources I have now), but the guides were flexible and they met me halfway. Thank you, Allon Raiz, for the phenomenal programmes which I know are touching other peoples’ lives as well. I come from a background with no business exposure and Raizcorp comes in, wipes the floor clean and then builds your confidence and encourages you to think big.